A new manager means a fresh start for everyone involved at a football club, none more so than the playing squad.
While all the focus is on who Manchester United will bring in with Erik ten Hag in the hot seat, to kick off his rebuild in an exciting fashion, fans probably shouldn’t get too giddy about a huge surge of incomings.
The best coaches, coach. And that is something that hasn’t been happening nearly enough at United over the past decade.
Actually, it’s near impossible to think of a player who has wound up in the Red Devils’ first-team and subsequently improved as a result, in recent times. United simply will not make any progress until they can rectify this major flaw.
Ten Hag will do his best to extract the maximum out of players in the squad who have been left to stagnate. And while there will be many who will find that their level isn’t high enough, there are others simply waiting to be rebooted by a top coach and reborn.
With that in mind, we at GIVEMESPORT have moved away from the usual transfer speculation and decided to focus on seven players who might thrive if given time to improve with the help of Ten Hag.
7. Harry Maguire
Okay, hear us out. Yes, he’s been pretty woeful in the 2021/22 season and he absolutely isn’t captain material for United. But give Maguire time and the right coaching, and he will recover some form.
Will he ultimately be good enough for United as they look to compete among the top teams once again? Quite possibly not. But for now, Maguire still has a use, and has shown for club and country that he can be effective. Ten Hag will do his best to bring that back out of him.
6. Victor Lindelof
Whenever he’s had the chance to grasp his place in the XI with both hands and truly stake his claim, Lindelof has always just fallen short.
There are obvious limitations to his game when it comes to his physicality, aerial duels and focus, but the Sweden international is a fantastic passer and comfortable with the ball at his feet. It gives Ten Hag a good baseline to work with in the immediate future.
5. Diogo Dalot
Right-back is the spot where United should really consider signing someone to bolster their options, with neither Dalot or Aaron Wan-Bissaka seemingly impressing all too consistently.
They are both victims of being left uncoached, however. Dalot is ahead in the pecking order, though, and will likely catch the eye of Ten Hag first with Ralf Rangnick persisting with him. His ability to play on either side stands him in good stead to keep his spot over Wan-Bissaka.
Despite being criticised to virtually no end by many for his performances since signing for £50 million in 2018, Fred has looked refreshed in a more free role under Rangnick.
It gives Ten Hag a lot to think about, too. What he lacks in height, he makes up for with tenacity in his tackles, a flash of skill and the ability to go beyond the defensive line when given the licence. Fred could finally look the part with the Dutchman’s help.
3. Scott McTominay
Potentially the most polarising player in United’s squad, there’s a reason McTominay has been one of the first names on the team sheet under just about every manager he has played under at Old Trafford.
There are of course limitations to his game and it remains to be seen if somebody can break those down or not, but McTominay has all the tools. His height and physicality is a dream, he has an engine like no other, he can pass the ball well in advanced areas and score goals. If Ten Hag can get into him from day one, the Scotland international could look a different beast further down the line.
Frenkie de Jong to Man Utd latest (Football Terrace)
2. Jadon Sancho
Sancho has been the bright spark in an otherwise dismal 2021/22 season for United, which says a lot, because even he hasn’t hit the expected heights.
By no means does Sancho look lost at sea like plenty of his other teammates, but if the rot continued, there was a risk of things going that way. Working with Ten Hag will give the exciting winger all the direction and impetus he needs to kick on and look like a world beater once again.
1. Marcus Rashford
Rashford serves as arguably the biggest, most glaring example of how poorly United’s players have been coached in recent times. Once the club’s star boy with all the promise in the world, an injury hit season has gone from bad to worse – so much so that people were questioning his future.
It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the negativity, though. When at full pomp, Rashford is a joyous footballer. Watching him on the pitch play without that direction he’s so crucially needed in the last few years is painful. If he can knuckle down again and work well with Ten Hag, though, he could explode into a star once more.